financial services

American Express Launches 13th 'Unstaged' Concert

American Express is prepping the 13th installation of its social-centric #AmexUNSTAGED concert series. The effort comprises live concerts filmed by established directors that are streamed live at, rebroadcast immediately, then extended to social with on-demand clips. The new concert is the Kings of Leon in London on Aug. 9. 

Deborah Curtis, vice president, American Express Entertainment, tells Marketing Daily that Unstaged is a partnership among the financial services company, VEVO, YouTube, the artist who's being featured, and the film director doing the film. In this case, the director is Fred Armisen. 

The company is also reaching into its image archives of such assets as old ads and the first paper "purple cards" to drive engagement and brand advocacy on social media, says Curtis. "We have a great heritage story to tell and realized we were sitting on a gold mine as we started to publish images from our archives." 



The first Unstaged concert was in 2010 with Arcade Fire, followed in successive years by artists like Vampire Weekend, The Killers, Jack White, Kenny Chesney, Usher and Coldplay. Curtis says Amex Unstaged has  generated "millions of views" over 12 performances to date, including Coldplay's concert in Madrid in 2011 -- which, she says, set a record for the most views of a single-artist event on YouTube.

The company promotes each of the shows via social channels, paid advertising and a digital activation, and a pre-concert video series about the band/director collaboration plus behind-the-scenes content. 

"The goal is to take an exclusive event and make it scalable via digital and social media by delivering premium music experiences to Cardmembers and fans," says Curtis. At last year's Killers  performance, “We asked people to post photos of themselves holding a sign featuring their location and the images were displayed on stage during the show." Cardmembers get things like dibs on tickets to upcoming music performances, and downloads of a song from the Unstaged artist. 

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